I was considering getting some spoke lights to increase visibility at night, and although there are a number of options they all seems to have a relatively low battery life, or get bad reviews. Here are some examples:

The best value for money would probably be getting some reflector tape, however it doesn't offer as much visibility and also relies on the light shining directly on you.

So if you were to recommend a spoke light, what would it be?

P.S. What surprised me is that I haven't seen any battery-less solutions, which I would have thought would be the obvious choice.

EDIT: Are revolights a good idea? Some things to consider before getting Revolights (which I will, because they are so damn cool)

  • Why is battery-less the obvious choice? Are you thinking of generating power from vibration? (Centripetal force doesn't do work.) Or of connecting to a hub?
    – Cascabel
    Jan 30, 2012 at 19:01
  • @Jefromi there are some toys which "apparently" generate light from rotation, when actually there is some acceleration-sensitive circuit which switches battery-powered lights. Very fake indeed (but not as much as "rechaNgeable batteries" I have seen written once on a china-made toy box...) Jan 30, 2012 at 20:03
  • @Jefromi - Actually I did assume you could use the force of rotation somehow, but there doesn't seem to be much evidence for it. My next choice would be induction though, so magnets could be attached to the fork and lights to wheels.
    – Shagglez
    Jan 31, 2012 at 10:18
  • 1
    Revolights could be worth a look if you want real vis
    – will
    Jan 31, 2012 at 16:43
  • 2
    This is not a forum; this is a questions and answer site, and I'm afraid your post isn't really a question, because real questions have answers, not items or ideas or opinions. Please read the FAQ for more information. Feb 1, 2012 at 18:23

3 Answers 3


From my trials with spoke lights I have not found ones that I like, but I have learned a few things about them that might be useful to others with more money.

  1. Illumination - It is important to recognize how much light the lights can put out, and not just when the batteries are fully charged.
  2. Batteries - There are a multitude of spoke lights with all sorts of battery requirements. A lot of them use the disk shaped batteries. These range in hassle to install and maintain since some of them only use a single battery while others use varying amounts in different quantities.
  3. Ease of activation and deactivation - Some are easier to turn on and off then others. I prefer buttons rather then those you have to press on both sides. When you are riding around in the winter, one of the times you need to be seen the most, and you have frozen fingers turning lights on and off can be quite painful. Having lights that won't hurt your fingers might be a godsend.

  4. Cost/benefit ratio - The aforementioned Monkey Lights may provide a lot of illumination, not to mention a few points in style, but they are not cheap. God forbid your bike gets stolen. Besides I can think of a few other areas on my bike I would want to drop that money on. But hey, at least you will get noticed.

Personally, I don't like the design of the SpokeLit. It fails on 3 of 4 of my qualifications. They are a pain to turn on and off. They do not stay bright for long and the batteries are expensive. Granted I ride a lot so your battery life may differ. What I have thought about doing is wrapping my spokes in Glowire or something like it.

  • Thanks for you evaluation. I think glowire is a great idea, thought it attaches the frame rather than spokes (arguably even better).
    – Shagglez
    Jan 31, 2012 at 10:22

This is perhaps a bit tangential, but your question seems to assume that spoke lights will increase visibility at night...which may be true to an extent, but only to people viewing from perpendicular to your direction of travel. Consider that you might get a better return, in terms of visibility-where-it-matters by improving your front and rear visibility (with lighting, reflectors, etc.).

A slightly different option for side/wheel visibility is to use reflective tires. They're like normal tires but have a strip of reflective material on the sidewalls. They're available in a variety of types and treads for road and mountain bikes.

Personally: I don't like anything on my wheels, particularly things that clamp onto the spokes. Should the clamping mechanism work loose it could jam up at an inopportune time and cause an accident.

  • What, not even a clothespin and playing card?? Jan 31, 2012 at 1:13
  • ha ha :-) maybe when I was 10!
    – djangodude
    Jan 31, 2012 at 1:15
  • I assume that Shagglez already has front and rear lighting sorted (as I do too). It's the perpendicular view which is the biggest dark spot and it's not that easy to figure out a good solution. I have also considered spoke lights.
    – Mac
    Jan 31, 2012 at 2:00
  • I have read other opinions that say since most bicycle accidents from cars happen at perpendicular angles that spoke lights and reflectors are more important than front and rear reflectors. I am not sure that I agree but it does lend some credence that a lot of head lights and tail lights also project lights to the sides as well. Jan 31, 2012 at 4:56
  • I had to change my tired on the account of them being quite old and holy, and was recommended Marathon Plus, which come with reflectors, so I guess that's a step towards it.
    – Shagglez
    Jan 31, 2012 at 14:35

Reelight makes magnetically powered lights that attach at the wheel axle. They are actuated by magnets attached to the spokes. The higher end models have built in capacitors so they continue to flash for a short period after the bicycle is stopped.

  • Reelight look great, however they are for front/back lighting, rather than side (or maybe I couldn't find the right ones?).
    – Shagglez
    Jan 31, 2012 at 10:19
  • They are front/rear lighting. I don't know of any non battery side lights. I have some Monkeylectric M210 lights on order. monkeylectric.com/m210.htm Feb 1, 2012 at 18:12

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